Monday, September 13, 2010

Feature Photographer - Deon Reynolds

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Deon Reynolds.  He creates beautiful landscapes, historic monuments, and many other wonderful photos using his Holga.  He also has some amazing panoramic work, using a simple plastic point & shoot.  Check it out below and visit his website for more work!

How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?

I was seven years old when my Father helped me make a pinhole camera out of Kodak film boxes, we loaded it with Tri-X 4x5 film and shot some scenes around the yard with it, then he took me into his darkroom and showed me how to process the film. Got me hook line and sinker! I've been shooting film ever since. Film is such a magical process, I never tire of the darkroom and never tire of the results. I'm almost as excited to get into the darkroom and see the results as I am getting out and shooting the image in the first place.

I purchased my first Holga in 1998 after seeing what some of my friends were doing with their Diana Cameras. The Diana Cameras at that time were almost impossible to find and expensive if you did. So, I reluctantly bought a Holga 120S at my local camera shop in Portland, Oregon for $14.95. I shot it with the 645 mask for the first couple of rolls, then discovered how nice the images were with no mask at all, and have been shooting all of my Holga's with the mask removed ever since.

What is it about the Holga that draws you to it? Why do you shoot with it?

First off it's a square image. The square and the panorama are my favorite formats to shoot. And second, it has a crappy plastic lens. I started shooting plastic cameras in 1992, with a Kodak "Fun Saver Panoramic 35" disposable. I love the painterly, etherial qualities that plastic optics afford. At first I didn't shoot much with my Holga, then after making our big move to the desert in 2005 I picked it up again. I had just sold all of my Hasselblad cameras because I couldn't afford a digital back for them. I needed to change over to digital for my color work, so I bought a Canon digital system. I immediately felt a profound loss with no square camera, so that year I started using the Holga again. The Holga 120S I had was not that appealing to me due to the extra low contrast and general out of focus nature plus an unappealing light leak I couldn't seem to get rid of. So I bought a new Holga 120N mostly because it had "bulb" and tripod threads. It turned out to be a whole new world! This new Holga was night and day different from the first one. It was sharper and higher contrast at the center of the image (for a Holga anyway) it has really nice fall off of sharpness and vignetting. The new Holga also has this wonderful double exposure of high contrast objects at the corners. This new one was really exciting to work with, and found I couldn't put it down.

Please tell me a bit about your 'Square one' portfolio

My website has been going through some major changes lately. four years ago it was all about color, highlighting my coffee table books, stock photography and some commercial work. Since attending a couple of portfolio reviews and wanting to put my artistic foot forward, I added the "Square One" portfolio to my website. It represents a very small sampling and the very latest from my Holga. My "NEVADA" book is almost sold out and very soon I plan on dropping the "Nevada Book" portfolio and adding a new Square Two" Portfolio. So, then my website will feature only square and panoramic toy camera imagery.

What challenges have you encountered while shooting this portfolio and how did you over come them?

My biggest challenge was film, Between my Kodak disposables and the Holgas I go through about 100 rolls every couple of months. At times, last winter I had completely run out of film. This was a particularly difficult predicament for me. Next was keeping the viewfinder issues strait between the two Holgas. Luckily they both tend to have the same directional issues. I frame the shot, move in too close and turn the camera to the left to get the framing I desire.

What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?

I have over 50 functioning cameras... Mostly, I use one of the Kodak Fun Saver Panoramic 35's followed by the Holga. After that I use a Canon 5D. I shoot Black & White film through all of my plastic cameras, for creating fine art and the Canon digital is used for color and is primarily used for calendars, books and stock photography.

Favourite photo film(s)?

That's easy, Kodak Tri-X. I love the soft pointillist look to the grain, it adds so much to the look of plastic camera images. Also, I like how it can be pushed or pulled in the darkroom. Since the Holga has a shutter speed of 125th of a second with a sunny aperture of f=8.0, and an overcast aperture of f=8.0, I push or mostly pull the Tri-X film depending on the lighting conditions at the time of exposure.

Your favourite Holga photo that you've taken and why?

My favorite Holga image is the one that just sold! Followed by the newest images that I'm excited to look at. These change weekly as new images are developed.

What inspires you?

I know that I'm attracted to desolate landscapes, and places of history, but, ultimately it's light and form. Any subject works as long as I can design aesthetically pleasing shapes within my frame. Inspiration is partly what made Trish and I make our move from the rain of the Pacific Northwest to the sunshine of Nevada's Great Basin Desert. We made our move to discover art as a way of living. The landscape here is very inspiring to me and the more time I spend here the more subjects I find to shoot.

Deon's Links:



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